Guide To Fiber Optic Polishing

Posted on by FS.COM

Optical fibers require end-surface treatment for proper light propagation and that includes polishing their ends. Polishing is essential for almost all glass-based fibers with cladding diameters larger than 200 microns. Furthermore, all fiber connectors require polishing. The process of fiber optic polishing can occur in the field or in a technical lab, it employs a range of tools and products used to create precision fits and finishes in the delicate glass ends.

There is typical fiber polishing machine for fiber optic polishing. Fiber Optic Polishing Machines are used to polish the end faces of fiber optic products (cables, connectors, adapters, etc.) in order to minimize signal losses due to scattering. Polishing machines can increase productivity by providing rapid polishing of many different connector styles.

When selecting a fiber polishing machine, there are several features to consider, including adjustable pressure, changeable holders, a timer, and the ability to request custom specifications. Most polishing machines do not offer the flexibility of speed adjustment. This is partially due to the fact that most users only need to handle one type of ferrule material such as zirconia. A slight speed variation does not have significant impact on connector polish result. However, a versatile polisher should have the capability to change speed according the ferrule and polishing film material.

The polishing job typically involves fiber optic fusion splicer, among other cable crimping tools and connectors are needed. It also requires 99% isopropyl alcohol, polishing (lapping) film and pad, a polishing puck, and epoxy or adhesive. Some technicians also find needle, syringe, and piano wire useful.

Several Different Polish Options On Fiber Connectors

The different polish of the fiber optic connector ferrules result in different performance of them, mainly on the back reflection (return loss). Generally, PC type is required at least 40dB return loss or higher, UPC is 50dB or higher, APC is 60dB or higher. (As we know, the higher the return loss, the better the performance). Insertion loss of them all should be less than at least 0.3dB, the lower the insertion loss the better the performance.

Things You Need To Mind During Fiber Optic Polishing

It is important not to dwell on any polishing film longer than necessary. Too much polishing can result in undesirable ferrule length, unnecessary polish film wear, and degraded polish finish due to particle accumulation. Make proper adjustments to the recommended polishing time in each step in case they are less than ideal.

Eye protection is always necessary to protect against powerful industrial lasers used in long-distance single-mode networks. Supporting tools may include a visual fault locater to troubleshoot fiber faults and breaks. A fiber-optic inspection microscope permits precision analysis of hair-fine fibers. Additionally, technicians rely upon jacket strippers, cutters, cable slitters, and fusion splicers.

Conclusion

Fiber polishing is a science but much like an art. The science of polishing is crystallized in a well designed machine while the art of polishing reside in the procedure and the continuous effort for improvement by the individual user. The procedure and the training are just as valuable as the polishing machine.

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